Surprise best ISP winner at Tuanz Awards

Service Provider of the Year
Christchurch-based Snap Internet won Service Provider of the Year at the 2009 Tuanz Innovation Awards, announced in Auckland last night at a black tie event attended by around 500 people from the telecommunications industry and corporate New Zealand.

Tuanz (the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand) represents the interests of around 500 corporate customers. The awards were decided by a judging panel that included past Tuanz board members, and representatives from companies that are large buyers of ICT.

Snap is the largest internet service provider based in the South Island, but offers services nationwide.

National sales and marketing manager Oliver Richardson told NBR that Snap did not try to compete on price. Instead, it’s had a focus on higher-end services. "We're not trying to be a Telecom or a TelstraClear. We strive to tailor solutions for businesses nationwide." Snap also sells residential packages.

Mr Richardson said Snap supports many organisations with their national networks such as the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa (which provides free broadband in public libraries) along with clients requiring high availability, including major universities in the North Island and South Island.

Carrier of the Year
CallPlus, co-founded by Malcolm Dick and Annette Presley, was judged Carrier of the Year. Although known as an ISP, the company, which now has 150,000 customers and an annual turnover of $100 million+, also provides VoIP products and services for business, and a recent new entrant in the mobile phone market, picked up Carrier of the Year. “It’s a great way to go out,” said chief executive Martin Wylie, whom earlier this week announced his resignation - sparking a reshuffle at the company.

Telecommunications Journalist of the Year
NBR Technology Editor Chris Keall won Telecommunications Journalist of the Year against fellow finalists from The NZ Herald and Computerworld.

Mr Keall’s recent portfolio includes his coverage of Telecom and Vodafone’s High Court network interference case; revelations about 2degrees’ secret MTR deal with Vodafone (currently offline while the Commerce Commission and NBR’s lawyers’ engage) and Yellow’s determination to persist with its gaffe-prone Manila call centre.

Mr Keall’s winning portfolio consisted of Meet the Bad Guy: Southern Cross Cable; Telecom’s 5 biggest headaches, part 4: Australia: go hard and go home; and his comparative testing of Nokia’s E75 on Telecom and Vodafone’s 3G networks.

Stories were judged on criteria including depth of research, uniqueness of angles, and to what extent the reader would be informed, inspired and provoked.

Next Generation Fibre-optic network
NorthPower won for its 18-month fibre-to-the-premise project, which saw 100km of overhead and underground cable laid in partnership with TelstraClear. The recently launched service offers Whangarei businesses data connections at up to 1000Mbit/s in both directions, plus VoIP services.

Chairman’s Award
The Tuanz Chairman’s Award was presented to Tex Edwards of 2degrees in recognition of his determination in establishing New Zealand’s third mobile operator.

"Tex has been recognised for his dogged, determined and focussed approach to bringing a third mobile network to New Zealand. He has become well-known throughout the industry for his colourful and fearless style and his huge personal desire to make a real difference," says by Tuanz Chair Chris O’Connell.

The one-time investment banker and minority owner of 2degrees through his Hong Kong-based family investment vehicle KLR, related how the company - then known as Econet - “was just two guys and a photocopier in Metropolis. I came back here thinking it would take three months to start a mobile phone company. I turned out to be nine years.”

Somewhat disappointingly, Mr Edwards then abandoned his colourful life history in favour of paying tribute to his assembled co-workers. “You guys are rockstars,” said the regulatory affairs manager. Mr Edwards promised 2degrees, which launched with pre-pay plans and 50 cents a megabyte 2.5G data had many more products in the pipeline. “We’re here to stay, we’re here to make lower prices and we’re here to make a difference.”

Air NZ overall winner
Air New Zealand won the overall best-of-the-best award for its electronic domestic boarding solutions, which include its self-service kiosks, Rfid ePass token and mPass mobile phone boarding pass.

The full list of winners:

Tuanz Initiative of the Year 2009 - Sponsored by Motorola
Air New Zealand

Tuanz Mobile Application of the Year 2009 - Sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent
Livestock Improvement Corporation

Tuanz Education Award 2009 - Sponsored by Aurecon

Tuanz Healthcare Award 2009 - Sponsored by Voco

Royal New Zealand Plunket Society

Tuanz Rural Award 2009 - Sponsored by Kordia
Livestock Improvement Corporation

Tuanz Local & Central Government Services Award 2009

Ministry of Social Development and Salmat VeCommerce

Tuanz Commerce Award 2009

PocketSmith (read PocketSmith shows power of SaaS, social media for cracking global markets)

Tuanz Next Generation Fibre-Optic Network Award 2009

Tuanz Telecommunications Journalist of the Year 2009 - Sponsored by 2Degrees Mobile
Chris Keall - National Business Review

Tuanz ICT Innovator of the Year 2009 - Sponsored by Kelly Professional & Technical
David Stewart - Telecom

Tuanz Telecommunications Carrier of the Year 2009 - sponsored by Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum
CallPlus Services

Tuanz Internet Service provider (ISP) of the Year 2009 – sponsored by Telecom Wholesale
Snap Internet

Tuanz Technology Media Award 2009
Radio New Zealand National

Tuanz Chairman’s Award
Tex Edwards, 2degrees

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4 Comments & Questions

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Congrats to all recipients.
A special congrats from me to to David Stewart.
I have worked with Dave for a number of years and he truely is a forward thinking and genuine person.
IMHO, an award that is truely deserved. Well done !!

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Congratulations to Chris Keall, his award is richly deserved too.
I've only started reading his work this year when searching for information about the impending arrival of XT. I was immediately struck by his depth of understanding and the quality of information he presents. I used to read the Herald technology pages but not any longer.
Well done Chris!

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Excellent choice; well done David!

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Congratulations are well and truly in order to Chris - He's kept a sharp eye on the telco space when most other tech media has been napping!

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